Saturday, July 16, 2005


...describes the Icelandic lingua:

[...]..."However, despite the complexities of Icelandic, the language barrier is not a problem because everyone speaks English (indeed they speak better English here than in some parts of England), but the Icelanders bring their quick fire, rat-a-tat-tat accent to the task which makes it fiercely entertaining.

For instance the first syllable of words is often long, and vowels are pronounced with particular length and emphasis. Obviously the best example of this is the word Iceland itself and happily “How do you like Iceland?” is probably the best example of a sentence. I say happily because it is a question every single outlander, without exception will be asked. Guaranteed. What is a fairly straightforward question comes out as:

“So…(pregnant pause)….. How do you liiiiiiiiiiiiike IIII.............celand?”

Which obviously leaves the outlander in no doubt that the correct response is “Magnificent.”

This vowel fetish works well with “Ireland” as well, as in:

“Aaaaaaah. I...........rrrelaaaand. Yooooouuuuuuu’re I..............rrrrish.”

Astute readers will have noticed the word Ireland is particularly pleasing to listen to because it has the added bonus of multiple rolled Rs coming immediately after a vowel. Priceless.

“Yes” is a word every traveller should know, no matter the language. “Yes” in Icelandic is “Já” which at first glance looks a bit German for most tastes, but the “á” is long as in “ou”. Think of “out” and then triple it as in “ouuuuuuuuut”. If you’re the type who has a list of “Things to do before I die” then you must add offering to buy an Icelander a drink:

“May I buy you a drink?”
“Já, Já!!”

The language, combined with the Icelanders enthusiasm for alcohol, results in ““Já, Já!!” becoming “YOW YOW” (pronounced wow with an “Y) and it is one of the most infectious sounds you will ever hear.

Most readers will have probably realised by now that my writing skills are falling somewhat short when it comes to describing such unique sounds. Hence I will now shut up and simply invite you to listen to the following song (listen to the whole song, trust me it’s worth it, and no, it’s not Bjork):"

Click here to listen.


Outlander said...

Hi! Thanks for the plug!

Greta said...


Johnny Newt said...

wow, that songs a little harsh , glad I won't be visiting from Germany ! what a fantastic accent though, sounds slightly Russian with a Irish role 'o' the tongue!